None of the Old Time Radio networks had a hold on romantic adventure like the Columbia Broadcasting System. The other networks certainly made the attempt to get a foot hold in the genre, but it would have been difficult for anyone to compete with The Whistler, Suspense, and Escape.
High Adventure is sometimes billed "The Mutual Network's answer to Escape!" In fact, the Mutual anthology premiered on March 1, 1947. There were audition episodes for Escape at the end of February and the middle of March, 1947, but the program did not begin regular broadcast until July. Some reviewers consider Escape to be Suspense's little brother. In that line of thinking, High Adventure could be thought of as a distant cousin.
Mutual started the show in the Saturday evening, 9:30 time slot, and bounced it around until Jan 21, 1949, when the show moved to Sunday afternoons on NBC (Mutual Network shows were notorious for developing a following and then moving to one of the more established networks). They landed Old Spice Aftershave as a sponsor.
The High Adventure scripts were based on original stories, in contrast to the many adaptations found on Escape. The shows used little subtlety in reaching towards a masculine audience. The stories were written in a realistic, remarkably believable style. High Adventure was the defining moment in the protagonist's life, and the outcome of the story would often hinge on his strength of character as much as his luck or expertise.
The episodes feature the music of the High Adventure orchestra, but the music takes a backseat to the language of the characters and the sound effects in establishing an extraordinarily realistic atmosphere. The realism is the most striking element of High Adventure. A major league baseball catcher and pitcher in one episode play for a fictional team, but the pennant race and locker room interaction are highly believable. In another episode, the hiss of air-compressors and the clanging of brass dive helmets in a deep-sea diving episode take the listener to the deck of the boat in the sunny Caribbean. Listeners hear a cross-country semi-truck going through its upshifts.
NBC dropped High Adventure at the end of the 1950 season. Mutual retooled the show in January, 1953. The new version of the program featured George Sanders as narrator. This collection contains both the US and South African broadcasts.
This series synopsis is courtesy of Jon at www.otrcat.com.
OTRR Certification Information:
Series Name: High Adventure
Certification Status: OTRR Certified Accurate
Certification Date: September 16, 2015
Certification Version: Version 1
Number of CDs: 3
From the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group. See "Note" Section below for more information on the OTRR.
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Subject: More Akin to Psychedelic Experiences Than To Real Adventure
These are similar to stories from Argosy and similar gentlemen's adventure magazines from the 30s and 40s right through to the 60s of the last Century. Those were GREAT magazines and the best writers in the genre...writers like Talbot Mundy and Rider Haggard and THEIR ilk could really get you caught up in what you were reading so that you felt (for the time) like you were THERE.
Movies and Television mostly take care of that for audiences of today and that's fine. Yes, something is lost when all the sights and sounds of a story are laid out for you and with the advent of holography in a major way it is becoming possible to actually become PART of the action. In Japan concerts by the "Vocaloids" are attended by thousands of fans while here we have seen dead rap starts perform "on stage."
But still it isn't like REALLY being there. One can read about the terrible struggle Allan Quatermain and the others had crossing the desert to the mountains known as Sheba's Breasts but one doesn't experience the terrible heat or the sandstorm or the hunger or the thirst. We remain one step removed no matter how caught up our imaginations are when reading the book or our eyes and ears are when watching the film.
But for getting you as CLOSE to being there as it is possible to get without actually packing your bags and setting out on the High Road to Adventure...just turn out the lights, close your eyes, turn on your "theater of the mind" and enjoy this series.
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